Posts Tagged ‘London Photos’

Beginning 1987

Monday, July 6th, 2020
Forge Place, Malden Crescent, Kentish Town, Camden, 1987 87-1a-46_2400
Forge Place, Malden Crescent, Kentish Town, Camden, 1987

I’ve just begun to add black and white pictures from 1987 to a new album in Flickr, and am rediscovering quite a few pictures I had forgotten, including most of those in this post, all from the January pages of my filing sheets.

Eros, Piccadilly Circus, Westminster, 1987 87-1a-55_2400
Eros, Piccadilly Circus, Westminster, 1986-7

Probably that means they were taken in January 1987, though a film I loaded into the camera in December might not be finished until the following month, and I suspect that the picture of Piccadilly Circus with boarding around Eros was probably made before Christmas. Some statues get regularly boarded up.

Window with cross, Mansfield Rd, Gospel Oak, Camden, 1987 87-1b-35_2400
Mansfield Rd, Gospel Oak, Camden, 1987

I’d been waiting to start this album for a few months, as I’d got fed up with using my film scanner (too slow and now with an unreliable Firewire interface), my flat bed scanner (not quite sharp enough) and a bellows and macro lens on a Nikon D810 where I couldn’t quite get even lighting across the frame. The Nikon film holder that comes with the bellows works with mounted slides which crop the frame, but try as I might I couldn’t get even lighting across the full 35mm frame.

Dove, Southampton Rd, Gospel Oak, Camden, 1987 87-1b-46_2400
Dove, Southampton Rd, Gospel Oak, Camden, 1987

While it was fast and easy to photograph negatives, every one needed to be worked on in Lightroom and Photoshop to try and correct the lighting fall off, and I couldn’t find a way to do so automatically. I experimented with different light sources and made some slight improvements, but couldn’t solve the issue.

Stairs, Malden Rd, Gospel Oak, Camden, 1987 87-1b-52_2400
Stairs, Malden Rd, Gospel Oak, Camden, 1987

I decided to buy Nikon’s more recent kit for digitising images, the ES-2, and ordered one in early March, but dealers were out of stock and I only received it a couple of weeks ago. Fortunately, although not perfect, it is a great improvement in several ways. The ES-2 connects to the front of the 60mm macro lens with a short tube, and one advantage is that unlike the bellows it retains auto-focus. With the bellows I had to focus in live-view at the start of each session and then firmly lock it it place, remembering to exit live-view as this crops the image.

Generations, Geoffrey Harris, sculpture, Maitland Park Villas, Kentish Town, Camden 87-1b-62_2400
Generations, Geoffrey Harris, sculpture, Maitland Park Villas, Kentish Town, Camden 1987

But the main advantage is that the ES-2 is almost capable of giving even coverage across the whole 35mm frame and has a proper negative holder which takes a strip of up to 6 negatives, with click-stops to move from one to the next. It isn’t perfect and seems ridiculously overpriced but it is a great improvement, making the digitising of negatives easier and faster. For the moment I’m concentrating on black and white, but I think it should also make working with colour negatives much easier, and the workflow I’m using to batch process the files (more about that in a later post) should also work with them. Most images just need minor tweaks and fortunately most of my negatives from 1987 are quite clean.

Most of these pictures speak for themselves, though perhaps I should admit that the ‘cross’ is the shadow of a parking sign. You can see these and more in my album 1987 London Photos.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


More City colour

Thursday, July 2nd, 2020

Some more pictures from my Flickr album made from en-prints of pictures taken in 1986-92 in the 1km wide strip of London in defined by the National G id reference TQ32, TQ32 London Cross-section.

IBM, Basinghall St, City, 1986 TQ3281-026
IBM, Basinghall St, City, 1986

Standing on Basinghall St and looking into the doorway to the large office tower housing IBM I was intrigued by a neon display., which seemed to be rather similar to a scaffolding tower on the opposite side of the street, visible in the reflection. You can see part of me taking the picture at its centre, my shoulder, arm and camera bag, leg and top of my shoe visible.

I was puzzled slightly at first as I appeared to be carrying my bag to the right of me, something I’ve never done since back in the mid 1970s, after I suffered badly with back pain. Although the specialist I saw never really managed to find a reason or cure, we did eventually discover that I could avoid the crippling pain by carrying my bag on the left shoulder rather than my right. But of course this is a reflection, so what appears to be right is actually left.

Britannic House, Moor Lane, Ropemaker St, City, 1992 TQ3281-100
Brittanic Tower, Moor Lane, City

Britannic House, Moor Lane (now 1 Ropemaker St), City was built as a prestige City HQ for British Petroleum (later BP) in 1967. The name Britannic House had been used for its nearby HQ in Finsbury Circus, designed for the company by the UK’s leading architect Lutyens when it was still the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. That rather lower but much more impressive building from 1921-5 required special permission from the LCC because of its height of at 38 metres and also presented building problems because it was partly above the underground Moorgate station.

The name Britannic House passed back to the Lutyens building when BP returned to it in 1991, and the Moor Lane building, a 35 storey 122m tall slab, was renamed Britannic Tower. When built it was the first City building taller than St Paul’s Cathedral, which was 111m (365 ft.)

Brittanic Tower was refurbished in 2000 with a fancy top adding another 5 metres and renamed Citypoint and is now the tenth tallest building in the City according to Wikipedia and the 54th tallest in Greater London. I think this particularly pointless piece of decorative sculpture at its base was lost in the refurbishment.

Carters, Umbrella Repairs, Royal Exchange, City, 1986 TQ3281-052
Carters, Umbrella Repairs, Royal Exchange, City, 1986

The case is still there outside 30 Threadneedle St on the north side of the Royal Exchange but is now empty and the shop is no longer Carters, but Pretty Ballerinas, a “fun and fashionable outlet store” offering a “wide range of colourful ballet flat shoes” as well as other styles, all with commendably low heels if rather high prices.

The rolled umbrella was once a part of the uniform of the City gent, but there are rather few of them around now. And umbrellas have become cheap and disposable, probably impossible to repair.

Simpsons, Ball Court, City, 1992 TQ3281-077
Simpsons, Ball Court, City, 1992

Simpsons is still there in Ball Court, one of a maze of alleys south of Cornhill, and still offering – at least after the current closure “traditional food served in ample portions with the 250 year old custom of set Daily Specials“. Although not cheap, it isn’t an expensive place by London standards. I’ve never eaten there but perhaps I might treat myself one day if I go to London again.

Bank of England, Bank, CIty, 1987 TQ3281-047
Bank of England, Bank, City, 1987

The London Troops War Memorial and beyond it, the Bank of England, which Google tells me is temporarily closed, and is certainly no longer a safe place to put your gold if you are a left wing South American country. Over the past years I’ve photographed several protests calling on the bank to let Venezuela have it gold kept here, which the Bank is refusing to release due to US sanctions.

Venezuela’s central bank, controlled by President Nicolas Maduro, is currently seeking an order in the English High Court to force the Bank of England to hand over the over $1 billion of Venezuelan gold reserve in its vaults which the country need to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

More from the City in a later post. You can see more pictures now in TQ32 London Cross-section.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Mainly Camden – 1986

Saturday, June 27th, 2020

The pictures on the final page, Page 14 of my 1986 London Photographs, were taken in November and December of the year, mainly in Camden, though they have a wider aspect than that might suggest, including Cosmos Radio Cars and the Night bell for the Universe. Few people really realise how far the London Borough of Camden actually stretches, almost down to Fleet St and up to Hampstead Heath, though the pictures here are from the sourthern part of the borough, along with a few over the boundary into the City of London

Pratt St, Camden 86-11l-13
PsaroTaverna Ta “Varelia”, Pratt St, Camden

There are still many shops in the area which show the presence of the Greek and Greek Cypriot community in Camden. I particularly liked the barrels outside the PsaroTaverna (Fish tavern) Ta “Varelia” in Pratt St, their shapes echoed by the balconies to the right of the picture.

In the window you can see the reflection of what appears to be one of the blocks of the Curnock St Estate, but both this taverna and those balconies seem to have disappeared without trace. There is still a taverna on Pratt Street, but now it competes with food from Italy, Japan and possibly elsewhere.

Herbrand St, Bloomsbury, Camden 86-12a-41_2400
Car Park, Herbrand St, Bloomsbury, Camden

Relatively few car parks enjoy listed status, but the Frames Coach Station and London Borough of Camden Car Park in Herbrand Street, close to Russell Square certainly deserves its Grade II listing, made in 1982. It was built in 1931 to the designs of architects Wallis, Gilbert and Partners for Daimler Car Hire Ltd. After they were taken over this building became used by the London Taxi Centre and Frames Coaches. The sign in my picture above the entrance to the spiral ramp which took cars to the upper stories calls it a ‘London Borough of Camden Official Car Park.’

Some may be familiar with the building from their childhood as it was the basis for the Fisher Price toy garage. The building deteriorated badly over the years and has been sensitively and extensively renovated to provide 60,000 sq foot of office accommodation, currently occupied by what claims to be the most powerful advertising agency in the world, McCann Erickson. 

Urinal, Star Yard, Holborn, Camden 86-12d-12_2400
Urinal, Star Yard, Holborn

As a then un-diagnosed diabetic, facilities such as this were of great interest to me and I made use of this on numerous occasions when I was in the area.

It is still in place but was closed when I last walked past, necessitating a visit to the basement of a nearby Wetherspoons pub.

Lyme Terrace, Camden 86-12a-52_2400
Lyme Terrace, Camden

The Regents Canal runs through the centre of Camden and I’ve often enjoyed a walk beside it. Lyme Terrace is a narrow pedestrian street that runs above the towpath. This view towards Royal College St is rather different now, although the white-painted small terrace is still there (now pale blue) but Lawford and Sons builders materials is long gone with an oval modern block tacked on to the wall at the end of the terrace on Royal College St.

Traveller camp, Kentish Town Rd, Camden 86-12g-42_2400
Traveller Camp, Kentish Town

The large building in the background is the HQ of the Transport Police beside the canal on the corner of Camden Rd and Camden St.

I think this encampment was on land that had been cleared for the building of Camden Gardens. At left you can see a heap of scrap, but overall the site which went up to the railway arches seems relatively tidy. Another picture (not on line) shows rubbish by the railway arches, but this could be fly-tipping not connected with the travellers.

Kent House, Ferdinand St, Camden 86-12j-22_2400
Kent House, Ferdinand St, Chalk Farm

Another of Camden’s many Grade II listed buildings, Kent House on Ferdinand St in Chalk Farm. These two blocks of model low-cost flats and shop were built in 1935 for the St Pancras House Improvement Society. Designed by Colin Lucas with Amyas Connell and Basil Ward they provided features better than many private developments of the era for cheap social housing – as the listing text comments: “staircase access, room layouts, generous useable balconies and total use of electricity for servicing put Kent House at the forefront of contemporary flat design with the quality of detailing expected from a private commission. ”

This was however the only development of its type by  Connell, Ward and Lucas.

This ends my series on work in the album 1986 London Photographs, although I may at some point add more pictures and more descriptive text. But you can also add comments to the pictures on Flickr. I hope shortly to begin to put some of my work from 1987 on line.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


1986 Page 12

Thursday, June 25th, 2020
Leeke St, Pentonville, Camden 86-10c-44_2400
Leeke St, Pentonville, Camden

Page 12 of 1986 London Photographs

1986 was the year I began seriously to photograph the fabric of London, and the number of photographs on Flickr, 1,370 reflects this, although I took several times this number, mainly in a series of planned walks exploring different areas of the capital.

76-78, Caledonian Rd, Kings Cross, Islington 86-10g-11_2400
Caledonian Rd, Kings Cross, Islington

A few of those I’ve not digitised are near duplicates, though usually I only took a single image of each subject, often taking some time to consider the best viewpoint and sometimes waiting for people or traffic to leave me a clearer view. Although I was working on 35mm and almost always hand-held, my approach was generally like that of a photographer using a larger camera – and the 35mm Olympus shift lens gave me much of the flexibility of large-format camera movements.

Nat West Tower, Old Broad St, City 86-10e-61_2400
Nat West Tower, Old Broad St, City

I had tried using 4×5″ cameras, a first with a monorail and then with an MPP, but found them too restrictive. Heavy to carry any distance, slow to set up and even with several magazines and a small pile of dark slides I was very limited in how many exposures I could make in a session. The movements on the MPP were also fairly limited, and the Olympus shift lens was more useful for this. While I admired the quality of large format results – and tried at times to emulate it by using Kodak Technical Pan – it wasn’t practical (or affordable) for the kind of large-scale project I had embarked on.

Venus, Canonbury Rd, Islington 86-10k-64_2400-2
Venus, Canonbury Rd, Islington

Most of these walks in October 1986 were in Islington, where I walked around areas including Clerkenwell, Pentonville, Canonbury, Barnsbury, Highbury and Islington itself, though I think I occasionally strayed across the borough border into the City of London and Camden.

Bartlett Export Packers, Regent's Canal, Islington 86-10t-31_2400
Bartlett Export Packers, Regent’s Canal, Islington

I travelled on public transport, using either the North London Line or the Underground, and it was sometimes easier (or cheaper) to travel to stations outside the borough – such as Bank (then still ‘City’), still a ‘London Terminus’ of British Rail Southern Region until 1994. I didn’t often use buses, partly because it was still rather harder than now to find out where they might go.

St Agnes Place, Kennington, Lambeth 86-10c-66_2400
St Agnes Place, Kennington, Lambeth

There are also a few pictures from south of the river, around Walworth and Kennington, where we used to go to a monthly meeting with friends, arriving for Sunday lunch. I’d often leave early in the morning for a few hours of walking and photography before these meetings.

The pictures here are just a few of those I now find more interesting from the page, but there are many others worth seeing in the hundred that make up Page 12 of 1986 London Photographs.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


London 1986 – Page 11

Wednesday, June 24th, 2020
Temple Bar, Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, Fleet St, City, Westminster 86-9h-34_2400
Temple Bar, Strand

Page 11 of my album London 1986 has some of my favourite black and white pictures I took that year, at least in London, and is centred around the City of London, with pictures from its northen extremities in Moorgate, Smithfield and the Barbican and close to the City in the surrounding London Boroughs, particularly Islington, where my walks took me around Farringdon, Clerkenwell, Old St and Finsbury.

Atlas Paper Works, Newington Causeway, Newington, Southwark 86-9q-31_2400
Atlas Paper Works, Newington Causeway, Newington, Southwark

I drifted into Camden around Kings Cross, Lambeth close to Waterloo, Southwark at Newington and The Borough, Covent Garden, Temple and Strand in Westminster and Whitechapel and Aldgate in Tower Hamlets.

Wig & Pen Dining Club, Strand, Westminster 86-9h-35_2400
Wig & Pen Club, Strand, Westminster

Those who have been following the colour work I’ve posted in the series of slices through London will recognise a number of the places in these pictures, particularly in the album TQ31- London Cross-section which I’ve written about recently. One of them is the Wigt & Pen club on the Strand, still very much in business back in 1986, but which closed in 2003.

Lloyd's Diary, Amwell St, Kings Cross, Islington 86-9o-55_2400
Lloyd’s Diary, Amwell St, Kings Cross, Islington

Occasionally the black and white and colour versions show a similar viewpoint, but usually in black and white I was more concerned with documenting a building or place as a part of the city while the colour work was often more concerned with detail and particularly colour. The black and white is generally more of a document, more objective and the colour more personal, more of a response to the subject.

Frazier St, Lower Marsh, Waterloo, Lambeth 86-9r-11_2400
LowerMarsh, Waterloo, Lambeth

The routes that I researched and plotted were determined by my desire to try to document the whole of London, and to photograph its significant and typical buildings, streets, squares etc. I think it was largely for practical reasons that I did this in black and white, partly because of cost, but more that black and white was able to handle a much higher dynamic range than colour film.

King James St, The Borough, Southwark  86-10a-21_2400
King James St, The Borough, Southwark

But black and white back then was still the primary medium of photography, both in camera and in publication and exhibition. I’d worked for over 15 years primarily as a black and white photographer and almost all of my published work had been in black and white. Looking at the pictures now it is usually the black and white that still interests me most. Things have very much changed, particularly with the move to digital. I only work in colour and can’t ever see myself going back to black and white. And I seldom see black and white by other photographers – particularly not by younger photographers who have never really served their time with black and white – without thinking it would have been better in colour.

Page 11 of my album London 1986.

TQ31 – North London

Friday, June 19th, 2020

There are many pictures on the fourth and last page of my album TQ31 London Cross-Section I’d like to show you and say a little about, though in most cases they need little text, but it can sometimes add interest. But my time is limited and I’ll leave you to discover most of them for yourselves.

Andreas, Hairdresser, Hornsey Rd, Lower Holloway, 1989 TQ3185-005

I think Andreas’s Barber Shop on the Hornsey Road had probably ceased trading by the time I took this picture, as there is no light bulb in the socket just to the left of the centre of the window. There is a notice in the door that gives its opening times, but where it says ‘Closed’ I think this may have been permanent.

As I was still working full-time, many of my pictures were made at the weekend, often like this one on Sunday mornings, when most shops would have been closed. The building is still there, but not the shop or its shopfront; the whole row of shops present when I was taking pictures has now been converted to residential use.

Hoo Hing Ltd,  Drayton Park, Highbury, 1989 TQ3185-008

Rather to my surprise, this industrial/commercial building is still there on Drayton Park, and, at least until recently, the name ‘HOO HING LTD’ was still present above the doorway. The company still exists and is an importer of oriental food and catering products, but the site was reported as due to be cleared in 2006 for housing. However in 2019 it was still there; like many redevelopments it may have been halted by the financial crash.

Sisters Gowns, Seven Sisters Rd, Finsbury Park, 1989 TQ3186-015

Sisters Gowns was at the rear of a property at 216 Seven Sisters Road in Finsbury Park and this door was on Coleridge Rd. The property was demolished in 2008 (the sign had gone earlier), but the site was still empty in 2019.

Shop window, Fonthill Rd, Finsbury Park, 1989 TQ3186-021

Fonthill Rd in Finsbury Park, apparently known to locals as ‘The Font’ is possibly London’s best ‘fashion village’. On weekdays the trade is (or at least was) largely for the trade, but on Saturdays it becomes a busy retail fashion area, often packed with women on the lookout for a bargain. Fortunately most of the shops were closed when I went to take pictures on a Sunday morning.

Hairdresser,  Turnpike Lane, 1989 TQ3189-015

A unisex hairdressers at Turnpike Lane excited me in my hunt for heads, with a couple of fine examples as well as some photographs. I think I took rather more pictures than the three you can see here. A recessed doorway meant I could work from several angles.

Reflection, shop window, West Green Rd, West Green, 1989, Haringey TQ3189-010

Close to Turnpike Lane, down West Green Road, I came across another interesting shop window for a tailor’s shop, offering best styles made to measure at local prices. Working with a single lens reflex camera with its through the lens view meant that I could clearly see how the reflection and direct view combined, and could make small movements and sometimes deliberate shading to control the effect.

TQ31 London Cross-Section includes almost 400 pictures made in a small sliver of London, just a kilometre wide, which reflect the different areas it passes through from Norwood in the south to Wood Green in the north. The pictures come from just one of around a dozen such albums containing colour pictures I took when working around London between 1986 and 1992.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


City to Finsbury

Thursday, June 18th, 2020
Blades, Hairdresser, New Bridge St, Blackfriars 1992 TQ3181-065

I found this head in a barber’s window on New Bridge St fascinating if rather revolting and made several pictures of it and a similar head in another of the shop’s windows. At £11.95 for Mens Shampoo Cut and Finish back then (£25 at today’s prices) this was an establishment catering for the relatively wealthy, though women may think it still a bargain compared with what they pay. The company which had a number of shops is still in business but not at this address.

The Queen's Head, Ludgate Broadway, 1992 TQ3181-070

Curiously this little area of central London remained largely as it had been left after the war when I photographed here in 1992. The Queen’s Head was left alone after bombing in 1940 destroyed its neighbours, the Blue Last pub, the Ventura Restaurant and a stamp dealer in Ludgate Broadway. Fifty two years later their empty spaces only in use for car parks. Although I’ve labelled it on the enprint as Ludgate Broadway, a sign on the boarding around the bomb site reads Blackfriars Lane, but the view continues down f Ludgate Broadway to Pilgrim St. The size of the tree in the bomb site gives some indication of how long this site has been empty, though I think the ground level was some way down on the other side of the fence. The red building in Pilgrim St is still there, the 1891 City Bank with a frontage on Ludgate Hill, and had recently been restored at the time of the picture. A year later Ludgate Court on its west side was renamed  Pageantmaster Court. The ugly block to the left of the City Bank has since been replaced by an even uglier one, but both this and the Old Bailey are no longer visible from where I was standing after the bomb site was redeveloped, I think around 2000.

B W Bellgrove, Meat, Eagle Court, Farringdon, 1986 TQ3181-010

Apart from the colour which seemed appropriate for the trade, I was certainly attracted by the painted brickwork around the door and the signs, both for ‘B. W. Bellgrove (Meat) Limited – Wholesale. Retail & Catering Butcher’ which seemed unusually explicit, and also for the street name, Eagle Court, which made the location clear. Eagle Court is a short distance to the north of Smithfield Market, and runs between Britton St and St John’s Lane.

Wells House, Spa Green Estate, Rosebery Ave, Finsbury, 1992 TQ3182-017

Designed by Berthold Lubetkin in 1938, the foundation stone was laid in 1946 and the scheme completed in 1949, the Spa Green Estate between Rosebery Avenue and St John St in Clerkenwell is perhaps the most complete realisation of the modernist approach to social housing and a power expression of the new welfare state. It’s special status, confirmed by Grade II* listing in 1998 has enabled the estate, which had begun to deteriorate as government policies turned against council housing and made it difficult for local authorities to properly maintain it, has enable the TMO now responsible to carry out internal refurbishments to modern standards (and in many ways the original was well ahead of its times) and to restore the exterior to reflect Lubetkin’s original vision.

Wigton House, Agdon St, Finsbury, 1992 TQ3182-019

Wigton House on Agdon St in Finsbury. The street used to be called Wood’s Close, but at the start of the 20th century was renamed Northampton St, and then in 1939 the Marquess of Northampton (whose Compton family were the local landowners) was asked to suggest a new name for it and suggested Agdon St after property his family owned in Warwickshire. Back in the middle of the eighteenth century people apparently used to gather here to travel with an armed escort into London because of the danger of being robbed.

This was the rear entrance to Wigton House, whose frontage was on St John St. It was built by John Laing & Son Ltd in 1936-8 as a speculative development and named after Wigton in Cumbria, the area where the company came from. The building was converted into flats shortly after I took this picture in 1992 and renamed Paramount House. The frontage on St John St was altered but this side remains clearly identifiable.

The album TQ31 London Cross-section contains many more pictures from the City and Finsbury as well as areas both to the south and north, all made in the 1km wide strip with Grid reference beginning TQ31, all made between 1986 and 1992.


More from TQ31

Tuesday, June 16th, 2020

A few pictures recently posted to my Flickr album TQ31 London Cross-section from colour pictures taken in 1979-85. These come from National Grid squares TQ3176 – TQ3181, part of the 1km wide south-north strip TQ31 through London.

Church & Mural, Angell Rd, Angell Park Gdns, Angell Town, 1989 TQ3176-008

Angell town got its name from the family who owned it in the 18th century, and in particular John Angell who died in 1550 and whose self-made will and various litigious claims due to his eccentricity and inflexible obstinacy resulted in years of legal argument after his death, and more after the death of John Angell, junior, in 1784. There were few houses on the land until it was fully developed in the 1850s by the redundantly named Benedict John Angell Angell, mainly with substantial semi-detached properties for middle-class families. St. John’s Church, Angell Town was consecrated in 1853.

Most of the estate around it was demolished and replaced by a council estate built by Lambeth Council in 1974-78. A combination of unfortunate design, typical of the time, and poor maintenance quickly led to the estate becoming a haven for drug dealers and other criminals. A comprehensive redevelopment in the mid-1990s led to some improvement but the estate later deteriorated, partly because of lack of support from Lambeth Council, and became the home turf of one of London’s most notorious teenage street gangs.

Ideal, Cafe, London Rd Newington, 1987 TQ3179-014

This café, the “IDEAL” was on the west side of London Road, north of the Elephant and Castle and just south of St George’s Circus. In the reflection you can just see a part of the Duke of Clarence pub, still there though now the Clarence Centre for Enterprise and Innovation of London South Bank University. The row of shops containing the café is still there but the shop fronts have changed and I can’t positively identify exactly which has replaced this.

When I put this project together, beginning around when I took this image in 1987, I was interested in the way that colour negative film and the cheap en-prints that were the normal way most of its users experienced it presented reality and distorted it. I liked the way images were often printed with strong colour casts and sometimes slightly out of focus, though this batch was one of the better in terms of print quality. Some processors also put little stickers on prints giving advice where they thought there were technical problems, one of which I’ve failed to remove entirely from this image at bottom left. I’m sorry I didn’t leave it on, as I can now only imagine what it said. I think either a warning about reflections or possibly against double-exposures – which of course this isn’t.

Bridge Piers, River Thames, Blackfriars,1987 TQ3180-002

Joseph Cubitt who designed Blackfriars Bridge also designed the railway bridge which until a few years before I took this picture ran across the top of these piers, and had to make both bridges with the matching spans and piers, though those on the road bridge have a very different finish. His rail bridge for the London, Chatham and Dover Railway was opened in 1864 and the road bridge five years later.

The railway bridge to the east, on the left of the picture was opened some years later in 1886 and is still in use. But the station (originally called St Paul’s Station, but since 1937, Blackfriars) became less important when the Southern Railway was formed in 1924, with its main-line services being moved to Waterloo and the older bridge was no longer much used. In 1985 the superstructure was removed as it had become too weak to support modern trains, but these massive pillars were left, with some being used to support an extension of the station platforms across the Thames.

The Blackfriar,  Queen Victoria St, 1992TQ3180-014

The Blackfriar is a remarkable example of a Victorian pub, Grade II* listed, on Queen Victoria St. Originally built in 1875 on the site of a medieval Dominican friary it was extensively remodelled in several stages beginning in 1903 in a jolly arts and crafts manner by Herbert Fuller-Clark, with sculptures by Nathaniel Hitch, Frederick Callcott, Henry Poole, and Farmer and Brindley. Their work was completed by 1925, but the large figure of a black monk over the corner door was only added a year or two before I took these pictures.

The pub was saved from demolition in the 1960s by a public campaign led by Sir John Betjeman.

Wig & Pen Club, Strand, 1991 TQ3181-053

The Wig and Pen club at 229 Strand was in a building from 1625, built on Roman ruins which claimed to have been the only building in the Strand to escape burning in the Great Fire of London in 1666.

Opposite the Royal Courts of Justice in its early years it was occupied by the Gatekeeper from Temple Bar, just along the street on whose spikes severed heads of traitors were displayed, and began to sell food and drink to the crowds who came to view them.

The club was formed as a meeting place for lawyers and journalists probably around the start of the twentieth century, and closed around ninety-five years later in 2003. Business dropped drastically as the newspapers moved out of Fleet St, but there were also changes in social behaviour making the lengthy and very liquid lunchtimes that were once the norm largely a thing of the past. It tried to keep going by making the lower floor restaurant open to the public, but even this failed to generate enough to keep the club going. Eventually after being vacant for several years it was sold by the landlords to a restaurant chain with the upper floor of this and the adjacent building being converted into a house.

The George, Strand, 1991, TQ3181-063

The George Hotel, 213 Strand, was George’s Coffee House from up 1723 to the 1820s, becoming the George Hotel in the following decade. The building was on the site of an older building and was I think rebuilt in the Victorian era as a handsome stone-faced block on four floors with a balustrade across the front of the roof.

That building was ‘tarted up’ in 1930, with various additions to the woodwork of the ground floor, a half-timbered frontage and a pitched roof. I suspect that most of the antique internals also date from that facelift.

As a coffee house it claims many great historical writers as regulars, including Horace Walpole, Oliver Goldsmith and Samuel Johnson, and its basement is said to be haunted by a “Laughing Cavalier” or “Roundhead”, according to some accounts headless.

No-one seems to know why the additions to its frontage include an apparently naked man chasing half a dozen pigs or the monk with cat and barrel, though they are possibly copies from some older pub in what was something of a movement to recreate the old inns of England.

More pictures in TQ31 London Cross-Section.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Romeo & Heads etc – TQ30

Tuesday, June 9th, 2020

The Grid reference TQ30 continues north of Kings Cross and Pentonville up through Lower Holloway, Holloway and Upper Holloway and on to Hornsey, taking in a few areas to the side on its way. You can see my colour pictures from this strip of North London on page 4 of TQ30 London Cross-section.

Romeo Trading, Roman Way, Lower Holloway, 1990 TQ3084-018

I think it was largely the name which attracted me to the rather run-down premises of the Romeo Trading Co Ltd which gave no indication of what their business had entailed, and I could only speculate. Perhaps its name was connected with its address which was on Roman Way. The company still exists, though now in Edmonton and has a web site which includes the following text:

“Since its establishment in 1941, forming strong roots in military surplus, Romeo Trading Co Ltd has developed into a company with a manufacturing facility for all military and casual wear, together with its related products.”

Hornsey Rd had a number of interesting shops and provided some examples for various series of shops I was working on.

Hairdresser, Hornsey Rd, Holloway, 1990 TQ3086-011

One of these was collecting heads, and this Hairdressers shop window had a couple of fine examples.

TQ3088-005

and there was another further north in Hornsey itself.

Clothes, Shop, Crouch Hill, 1989 TQ3087-003

Fytos Fashion was another business that attracted me in part because of its name, which I read it as ‘Photos’ (but is really a Cypriot name.) But there was also the rather strangely bagged garments hanging in the window (no doubt to protect them from dust) and the large text below ‘WE SELL RETAIL BRIDALS, BRIDESMAIDS, CHRISTENING, HOLY COMMUNION’. Unfortunately you can no longer buy a bridesmaid here as this is now a nail care shop.

Cafe, Hornsey Rd, Upper Holloway, 1989 TQ3087-022

Another series I was taking was of cafés, and there was another fine example further north on Hornsey Rd.

Shoe Repair, Tottenham Lane, Hornsey, 1989 TQ3088-006

And some really odd reflections in a shop offering shoe repairs.

These are just a few of the pictures on the page, which also includes a number of factory and workshop premises – mainly in a block now occupied by new flats, shopfronts and shop windows, houses, a view of north London rooftops, and ends with a distant view of Alexandra Palace and a less distant view of a gasholder.

Page 4 of TQ30 London Cross-section

1986 Page 8

Thursday, June 4th, 2020

Page 8 of my album 1986 London Photographs begins with pictures from Wapping in August 1986.

Wapping High St, Wapping, Tower Hamlets  86-8t-55-Edit_2400

I photographed some slogans in Russian on fences – left I understand from the making of a film, supposedly set in Russia, but actually filmed here.

Wapping High St, Wapping, Tower Hamlets 86-8t-54-Edit_2400

Wapping High Street never failed to interest me back then, though it has now lost a great deal of the old atmosphere. The doorway at the right of this picture now leads to the Captain Kidd pub, converted from an old warehouse which used to store various goods including coffee, edible gums, dried fruit and wool from Australia. Sam Smith’s have done some excellent conversions of a number of historic properties and this is now a pleasant place to sit on a terrace overlooking the river and enjoy a pint of Old Brewery Bitter in a pub blessedly without TV or canned music.

Hays Wharf, Tower Bridge, Bermondsey, Southwark 86-8u-61-Edit_2400

After making some pictures there I walked back to Tower Bridge and crossed it to wander around a little of Bermondsey and Southwark as I made my way back to Waterloo station. The view towards Guy’s Hospital from Tower Bridge is rather different now, with City Hall and More London almost hiding the hospital tower and a wide walkway along the river bank.

Gainsford St, Bermondsey, Southwark 86-8u-54-Edit_2400

As in Wapping, many of these pictures south of the river show evidence of the great deal of building work then taking place, with many buildings being reduced to street-facing facades. For many buildings keeping the facades is probably the only possible way – if done sympathetically – of retaining some of the atmosphere of the areas, though when done badly a complete modern replacement would be preferable; not all buildings deserve to be kept. Mostly I avoided people in making these pictures, but some were desperate to be photographed.

Southern 777, Steam Engine, Cannon St Station, City 86-8v-65-Edit_2400

Another day in August I went with my two young sons, both keen railway enthusiasts and members of a British Rail kids group ‘Railriders’ to an event taking place at Cannon St station, with vintage Southern Railway electric trains and a steam engine.

Skin Market Place, Southwark 86-8w-01-Edit_2400

The trains didn’t greatly interest me, but I took a few pictures before we left and went over Southwark Bridge for a walk around Southwark, again on our way to Waterloo. Bankside Power Station is now Tate Modern, but I think Skin Market Place and its council depot has disappeared without trace.

100 pictures at 1986 London Photographs Page 8


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.